Activities That Can Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you are experiencing a numbing and tingling pain in your thumb and the first three fingers, you might be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by the compression of the median nerve running down your arm to your hand, which leads to pain in your hands and wrists.

The carpal tunnel is located at the base of your hand and it acts as a passageway for your tendons with the median nerve funneled through it. Your median nerve is responsible for the control and movement of your thumb and your first three fingers so the symptoms usually don’t manifest in your little finger.

This condition is more common in women and affects around 3 to 6% of the adult population.

Activities That May Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

One of the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive hand movements including:

Typing on a computer and using a mouse. Ideally, your shoulders and hands should be relaxed while typing and your wrists should be flat. Prolonged typing and mouse use with your wrists resting on the wrist rest increases the direct pressure to your median nerve. Adjusting the height of your keyboard so that your wrists are relaxed can help prevent carpal tunnel pain.

Texting. Smartphones have become a necessary part of everyday life in the recent years. However, based on a recent study, the use of handheld electronic devices for more than 5 hours can put you at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Try to limit your smartphone use and complete hand stretches to ease the pressure on your median nerve.

Playing musical instruments. Playing musical instruments like the piano, trombone, flute or trumpet puts stress on your hands and wrists because of the repetitive and rapid finger movements.

Certain jobs. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety listed the following tasks and occupations that may increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Grasping and pulling of cloth fabric (sewers, tailors, garment workers)

  • Milking cows (farmers)

  • Handling conveyor belts (assembly line workers)

  • Using ratchets and screwdrivers (mechanics)

  • Pulling out weeds (gardeners)

  • Frequent use of spray guns (painters)

  • Knitting (homemakers)

  • Scrubbing of windows, walls, and floors (janitors)

Home Management for Carpal Tunnel Pain

If you’re exhibiting symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, there are easy home treatment methods you can do to help alleviate the pain. These include:

  • Give it a rest. To prevent further aggravation of your carpal tunnel pain, stop doing any activity that requires repetitive hand movements such as typing and texting.

  • Apply an ice pack. Ice your wrist for about 10-15 minutes to make the pain subside.

  • Wear a thumb brace. A thumb brace immobilizes your thumb to facilitate recovery from carpal tunnel syndrome by providing additional thumb support, allowing rest periods, and alleviating pain.

  • Wear a wrist splint. A wrist splint looks like a fingerless glove that functions to stabilize your wrist while sleeping. Wearing a wrist splint holds your joint in a neutral position and helps relieve pain and pressure in your median nerve.

  • Do some carpal tunnel stretches and exercises. Doing some stretches and exercises can help relieve the pressure inside the carpal tunnel. To do so, rotate your wrist, pull back your thumb, and stretch your fingers gently. Do not continue the exercise if the movement exacerbates the pain.

If the pain persists despite these home remedies, you need to consult your doctor for further assessment and treatment options.

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